Artist: Shalom Maddar

Album: Abandoned State

Genre(s): Folk, Classical, Jazz

Abandoned State, released in 2014, is Shalom Maddar’s new album.  It has got 14 tracks which can be described as a curious cornucopia of jazz with liberal sprinklings of pop and folk elements.

Track Rating
1.       My Point of You ★★★★☆
2.       On Your Way ★★★★☆
3.       Dare You Love Me ★★★★☆
4.       Lonely Life ★★☆☆☆
5.       Healed Again ★★☆☆☆
6.       Goodbye Song ★★☆☆☆
7.        Impromptu I (Friday Night With Ania) ★★☆☆☆
8.       Too Early Too Late ★★★★☆
9.       Impromptu II (WenoWeno) ★★★★☆
10.   Still Me ★★★★☆
11.   Impromptu III (Beware of Strangers) ★★★★☆
12.    Blue Sadness ★★★☆☆
13.   Another Death ★★½☆☆
14.   Waterthoughts ★★½☆☆
  1. My Point of You

 The opening track is mesmerizing and has a fugue-like structure; where improvisational jazz elements merge with the pop ballad flow. Violins, saxophones, flutes and tables, harps and double-bass all form a great synergistic song. It is a solid opener for the album.

  1. On Your Way

The second track off the album is again a solid contender for one of the best songs of the entire album. Reminiscent of a Zero 7 or a Thievery Corporation meets Ornette Coleman free jazz solo, “On Your Way” reinforces the small home studio charms; with music that is inspiring and original.

  1. Dare You Love Me

 My favorite track off the entire album, this is a gem of a song. Everything is in harmony. From the chord structures of the double bass, the flow of the violin, the joyous leaps of the saxophone to the soothing rhythms of the flute, all of the instruments converge and form a sum vastly greater than its parts. Easy on the ears and mesmerizing all the way.

  1. Lonely Life

 This is one of the more ordinary sounding tracks on the album. A little jarring in the mid-section and it tapers off. Songwriting is never the strength of Shalom Maddar, a reason why it is not mentioned in detail. It is pretty weak at spots but nonetheless a decent interlude.

  1. Healed Again

The fifth track marks a lull in the album and it’s disappointing in terms of the scope and vision of what came before it. If the first three tracks were majestic, this is very ordinary.

  1. Goodbye Song

 Another song that almost has in its grasp the potential to go beyond genre trappings. It is ultimately restricted to the more or less steadfast rules of a chirpy radio-friendly pop/folk song with a dash of jazz to hint at its avantgarde nature.

  1. Impromptu I (Friday Night with Ania)

 I did not like this track. Probably the weakest of the album, it just did not come together for me. It serves as an unnecessary interlude.

  1. Too Early Too Late

 Shalom Maddar comes back to form with this one. It’s got the sheer energy of the opening track and the rest of the song is harmonious. You can tell they had fun recording it.

  1. Impromptu II (Weno Weno)

 Another improvisational recording which struck the right chords with me. I loved the way the free flowing goes on without slowing down and I enjoyed every minute.

  1. Still Me

If Shalom Maddar were painters, I think this song would be their Flemish art. The soundscape is lush and rich. The folksy elements remind one of forests and fresh air walks in the morning.

  1. Impromptu III (Beware of Strangers)

 Their penchant for improvisation has not been wrong. Initially, I was skeptical after not really getting into Impromptu I but this track is perfectly made, is soothing and reminded me of a pop revival of Jethro Tull at times!

  1. Blue Sadness

 The twelfth track off the album and at this point it seemed like one track too many. Nevertheless, it is a pretty solid bookend for an album full of loose, free flowing jams.

  1. Another Death

The penultimate track that mirrors the sophomore track “On your way”.  The album has almost come full circle but this one has a more melancholic feel compared to the chirpy beginning.

  1. Waterthoughts

 The last track surprisingly does not end with a bang but rather a whimper. It is pretty straight forward, with no complex structures. A simple, catchy ending to a very good album.

Picks of the album: On your way, Dare you love me, Still me, Waterthoughts.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆